Is an Open House Necessary When Selling A Home?

Posted on Jan 19 2015 - 11:07am by Bill Gassett

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on January 19, 2015. Housecall continues to share this piece due to ongoing requests and reader interest.

Open-Houses-UsefulWhen you go searching for a real estate agent, you are likely to hear a number of sales pitches speaking of the necessity and desirability of an open house. Many agents will speak of their enthusiasm for open houses and how they will do well for you with all the traffic they draw. What you may not realize, though, is that a real estate open house typically has far more benefits for your agent than for you. The question of course that is on the minds of many homeowners is does an open house sell homes? One thing is certain - statistics don't lie!

What may be a real shocker is the fact that less than two percent of all homes sold nationally are a direct result of a buyer visiting an open house unaccompanied by an agent. Real buyers are with real estate agents who schedule appointments. The people who come through your home on any given Sunday open house are not likely going to be the ones opening up their checkbook and handing over an escrow deposit!

So when people ask is an open house necessary when selling a home, the answer is clear, cut and dry - NO!

Problems with Open Houses

  • Wrong Kind of Traffic – One of the biggest issues with open houses is that real buyers rarely attend them. You may get a number of different people walking through and viewing your home, but legitimate buyers are usually rare. Your neighbors might come by to satisfy their curiosity and you may get people taking a walk-through to get ideas for their own renovations. You may even get a few people who dream of one day owning a home just like yours – only they do not currently have money to purchase something as expensive as yours.
  • The Unqualified Buyer - The likelihood you will get some buyers who are actually thinking about purchasing a home are pretty good. The problem however, is the vast majority of these people will not be qualified to pay your asking price. What is ironic is that most real estate agents will drive home the point about how important it is to qualify a buyer looking to purchase your home. This gets thrown out the window like the baby with the bath water when it comes to an open house.
  • Busy Work – Your REALTOR® wants to appear valuable to you and an open house is a great way to accomplish this. It is one of the few tasks a REALTOR® can engage in that is easily viewed by clients. You see all the work the REALTOR® puts into the open house and it makes you feel like you are getting your money’s worth.  In reality though, most of the work that goes into selling a home happens behind the scenes. Connecting with other REALTORS®, listing a property across a number of different marketing channels, and using social media all happen out of sight. Hence, clients don't always see everything they do.
  • Mainly for Your REALTOR® – All sorts of people will wander into your home, even if few of them are truly interested or capable of buying. This is not advantageous for you, but your REALTOR® knows how to utilize this traffic. It allows an agent to make connections or network – one of the most important components of growing a real estate business. The agent will meet your neighbors who may need to sell a home in the future. He or she will also meet those that don't qualify for a home as expensive as yours but who may be in the market for another home the agent happens to be selling. That home of course would be in their budget and not at the price point your home falls into. Your agent will also add another successful showing to his or her belt, and therefore be able to tell you, “I have shown your home X amount of times and drawn X amount of traffic.” Very few real estate agents are going to tell you that the real reason they are holding an open house is to get additional clients.
  • Security Issues - What many real estate agents fail to do is inform their clients about the drawbacks of an open house. Rarely are both the pro's and con's of an open house discussed. It is usually just the potential benefits. Unfortunately an open house is the perfect invitation to invite unqualified strangers into your home. When you do this you are potentially opening yourself up to a whole set of issues you probably have not given much thought to. Numerous sellers have reported theft both during the open house as well as on a later date when thieves who have visited come back and take what they like. It's no surprise this happens as an open house invites anyone and everyone into the home. If the open house is busy, it is impossible for a real estate agent to watch everyone.

See Past the Curtain     

You certainly need a good agent to sell your home. A skilled REALTOR® can help you get a better price and move your home much more effectively than you can selling as a for sale by owner. However, do not be fooled by the illusion that an open house presents. Yes, some homes are sold through open houses, but the statistics are not encouraging. Far more homes are sold through hard work and the skill and talent of good REALTOR®.

If you still want to have an open house, by all means have one. But do not be fooled by claims from various real estate agents that having an open house is a “must” or that this or that agent is great because of them. Some agents are better at selling homes than others, but no one that is good will pretend that an open house should be a main priority. Very few top producing real estate agents hang out in someone’s home waiting for a buyer to show up.

The bottom line despite what some agents may tell you is this - a buyer who really wants to see your home will always schedule an appointment to see it. If you were in the market to purchase a home and saw something you really wanted to look at, would you be saying to yourself "If they don't have an open house I'm not interested,"? Of course not! Sounds pretty absurd when you think about it.

Like the popular old movie "The Wizard of Oz," make sure you know who is behind the curtain when selecting a REALTOR® to work with. The easiest way to do this is by asking good REALTOR® interview questions. When you do so, you will be more apt to find a true real estate wizard and not someone who will disappoint you.

Bill Best photo 002-1 cropped (1)Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people move in and out of the Metrowest Massachusetts area for the past 27-plus years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England for the past decade. In 2013, he was the #1 RE/MAX agent in Massachusetts. Connect with him on Google+.

60 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Marilyn Messenger January 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm -

    Totally agree! ! No reason sellers should be allowing strangers in off the street just because it’s Sunday and there is an agent there. Free entertainment on Sunday afternoon! An agent should be using a property for their own business development!

    It is a terrible way for a buyer to see a house! Qualified buyers have an agent or will get one if they are really ready to buy; they do not wait for open houses! They want to take their time to really look and be able to talk – they can’t do that when there are other people around. We really need to stop this practice!

    • Marie Beninati January 21, 2015 at 9:36 am -

      Totally disagree. It depends on the market. I would challenge the statistic. Would the author please reference the study referred to.
      There are buyers who only go to open houses – that is still a considerable part of the market and you lose them.
      I feel that most agents don’t want to invest the time necessary.
      We get good results and have a chance to sell the house ourselves to people who come in. Word of mouth is also a very important aspect.
      There are lots of things that are effective in one market and not another.

  2. Cheryl Dwyer January 20, 2015 at 8:45 am -

    Thank you! Although I have sold a house to a qualified buyers at an open house, I know it was truly an exception. While holding an open house I can’t fully concentrate on the features of the house with a set of buyers because I’m too distracted trying to get people signed in, watching someone’s kids open drawers, jump on furniture or wonder what is taking that person so long in the bathroom! Which no one touring an open house should be using the bathroom but am amazed at how many just think of it as a public restroom!

    You’re are right it’s prospecting for us although experience has taught me those are tough to leads to convert.

    I’ve had my time wasted to find out when I send them to get preapproved that they don’t qualify for any type of purchase.

  3. Bryan Hoffman January 20, 2015 at 6:50 pm -

    I respectively disagree. The 2% statistic is a misleading reason as to why to not hold an open house. I’ve had a large number of buyers come through an O/H, even though they were represented by an agent. Their agent couldn’t visit for whatever reason but your 2% stat is referencing the buyer not having an agent at all. This stat is more important in tracking when the listing agent also represents the buyer than for any other purpose. Neighbors have friends and/or family looking to move into the area. An O/H is the best time for that neighbor and/or friend to visit. I’ve also noticed a trend that buyers want to work directly with the listing agent. For efficiency sake, an O/H is the best way to show the home. Lastly, an O/H all but guarantees the home is at it’s very best showing condition (all lights on, proper scents for the home, blinds/drapes open, the home is clean throughout, etc. A 2 hour notice during the work day doesn’t very well guarantee the home will be presentable, especially if the buyers agent just shows up and open the door when the clients arrive (not prep the home prior to the clients arrival). The benefit of this kind of article is less industrious agents will believe this kind of advice and continue to fall by the way side, while the remainder continue to gain the greater portion of business to be had.

    • T Ambrose December 16, 2019 at 3:42 am -

      Good response. Open houses work regardless of what this so called expert says. Him and a lot of others are just plain lazy and this is their standard cover story.

  4. Roger Richmond January 20, 2015 at 8:29 pm -

    This is the best way to meet the neighbors you never knew!!! When people have nothing to do they go to an open house to pass time and check out decorating ideas. When asked about Open Houses in my listing presentations, I have the same answer as the one “will you reduce your commission” One word NO.

  5. Bob McTague January 21, 2015 at 7:10 am -

    Excellent article! I agree that open house are geared more for agents looking for future buyer business. As long as there is full disclosure to your seller clients as to WHY you would hold an open house, then it seems alright to keep them as a prospecting tool. However, there are better ways to find real qualified buyers.

  6. Alex Rubin January 21, 2015 at 7:53 am -

    The only thing open houses are good for is the agent holding the open house. It is a great way to fill my pipeline of clients for the coming 6-12 months.

  7. Jim Wagner January 21, 2015 at 8:08 am -

    This article is spot on. I am going to print it and share with sellers. Thanks

  8. John Nadler January 21, 2015 at 8:28 am -

    The entire topic of Open Houses and their effectiveness really depends on your perspective. You can’t argue statistics about homes sold as a result of the open house but I can tell you from a business management point of view, we heavily promote open houses for the “Exposure” (consumer) and for the agents as well as the company. It is a proven fact that Open Houses do generate buyer and seller traffic and that a well trained agent has a shot at selling that house or picking up some great prospects. Here’s a statistic that also doesn’t lie – when we recently did a 5 week, well promoted open house campaign, we outperformed the market significantly. Bill Gassett, I just think you don’t like to work on Sundays.

  9. Mike Kozlow January 21, 2015 at 8:41 am -

    I am curious as to what your position is on “broker opens”? Are they just an invitation for free food, or do they really get the home in front of potential partners in the transaction.

    All usually have seen the virtual tours and pictures.

  10. Jerry McEwen January 21, 2015 at 9:26 am -

    A well presented argument against open houses, however, trying to put a one size shoe on every situation never works well. In our area, there is a surfeit of young lawyers, who believe the other pundits who tell them they can get a better price if they don’t have a realtor, and, that all the information they need is on Zillow or Redfin. These watch for open houses in the neighborhoods they want, and come prepared to negotiate for themselves and let the listing agents write the contracts. We routinely sell 2 to 3 houses a year in this fashion, which helps both the seller (we give them a break on the commission) and the Team cause we keep both ends. You need to know your market before applying everything you read.

  11. Rossi Speaks January 21, 2015 at 9:32 am -

    Excellent article Bill, thanks for telling the truth. Only one thing you left out is the Consumer’s Perception that open houses are a necessity.

    I, too, believe this perception is incorrect and you are correct in that they are more for the agent than the seller. Let’s play on this perception.

    Hold an open house to get more listings. If I owned a property and was considering selling, I would look at the agent holding the open as an agent doing more than one that doesn’t hold open houses.

    Here in Raleigh, NC, we have a Highly Productive agent who has sat open house EVERY weekend for over 20 years and claims it is her key to success at being a top lister.

    Keep up the good writing Bill and Keep Smiling, Rossi

  12. Carla Heitz January 21, 2015 at 10:29 am -

    This is exactly what I tell my potential seller clients when I first sit down with them and go over my market plan.
    I have been selling homes for 25 years, and only sold 1 home 20 years ago.
    It is much to dangerous for Realtor’s to be sitting in a home with the door open and a sign which tells anyone, Come Right In.
    I ask the sellers if they would leave their door open with a sign that reads come into my home, most say “No”. I would rather be upfront and explain the negatives (as you mentioned in your article) so that we are clear from the start.
    Great Article. I will definitely use this on listing presentations.

  13. Alice Chan January 21, 2015 at 11:01 am -

    I’ve sat for hours with no one coming to the open house and others that are exactly as you describe. Unqualified buyers and neighbors. I do see more people that have already viewed the listing online and others that are not wanting to bother their agent to show them since we are open. I am always happy to cover a courtesy showing for another agent if they are not available to bring their buyers to the home. Personally I would rather not hold open houses, not that I don’t want to give my client all the service they deserve but feel an exceptional marketing program and attentive agent will get better results with less stress for my sellers. Thanks for a great article. I too would like to hear thoughts on Brokers opens.

  14. Ginny Hazen Damman January 21, 2015 at 11:19 am -


  15. Audrey Peters January 21, 2015 at 12:06 pm -

    I disagree. I sold a $1.24M home with a buyer I met at the open house I was hosting for my Broker. I then sold their home too as part of the same transaction. It is all about the realtor and what they do at the open house to engage with the buyer and not SELL. Although the internet is where buyers look and research, I don’t believe they pick their agent that way. It’s still about the personal connection and an open house facilitates that.

  16. Bill Hanner January 21, 2015 at 1:05 pm -

    I also disagree with your article. IF you examine the NAR report on buyers and sellers, you will see that Open Houses is one of the top activities that Buyers DO attend. They find it important. I have sold many homes due to my Open Houses. A more balanced article is what I expect from RIS Media. You may not like them but you brand us all who do find value in them as not telling our sellers the truth. Open Houses do work in Michigan. I wouldn’t do it if it was a waste of my time or my seller’s time.

    • Nick Caruso January 22, 2015 at 11:03 am -

      Hi Bill – thanks for reading and commenting! Certainly, open houses have varying degrees of success depending on the market. What works in some markets may not work in others! I think the comments section here alone proves that many people do find open houses to be useful, and that it is a polarizing topic. We’ve definitely covered open houses many times on our main website. Click here to read about the other side of the coin: Thanks for the discourse and for reading!

  17. Bridget January 21, 2015 at 1:12 pm -

    I totally disagree! While I do believe that there is a benefit to the agent, I believe that there is a benefit to open houses. I have sold a listing at an open house and believe that the more traffic that comes through that open house the better! I personally don’t mind the neighbors coming through as they may know someone that may love the listing! Since they are nosy, they will probably tell everyone they know about the open house they went to! Sounds like pretty good advertising to me. Don’t be lazy. Have an open house!

  18. Zohra Abuzalaf January 21, 2015 at 5:29 pm -

    For me open house is very important in the fact that, I get to hear the public comments about the house. What they like and dislike about it. What they think about the price, the neighborhood. Sometime they start comparing it with the other houses they’ve visited. I think people’s feed back is very important to convey to the seller. It also depend on the neighborhoods. We cannot generalize. Open house does sell in (Oahu, HI).

  19. Bill Gassett January 22, 2015 at 3:12 pm -

    Guys please read the title – Is an open house necessary to sell a home? Can anyone say that the answer to this is yes? I sure hope not! If you believe that then you shouldn’t be in real estate.

    When you break an open house down to it’s simplest terms it is a couple hour block of time people are allowed to see a home. There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week.

    That leaves 165 hours other than the time at the open house to sell the home.

    If you are a skilled agent and price the home correctly there should NEVER EVER be a need for an open house other than to put additional clients into your pocket.

    Open houses will always be an opportunity for an agent to prospect and that is perfectly fine BUT please be honest with your clients about it. Stop with the charade that they are necessary for anyone other than YOU!

    John Nadler – you are 100 percent correct I don’t want to work on Sundays. Guess what – I don’t have to! There isn’t a REAL buyer in the world who will pass on a home they want to see.

    I also don’t need to spend a Sunday in someone’s home looking for prospects – thank god!

    BTW – did any of you know that Maryland has banned an agent from talking about any other property other than the one being held open during an open house?

    I would be willing to be if every other state took this course of action there would be far fewer open houses!

  20. Adrienne January 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm -

    Bill – you are 100 percent spot on! An open house in not necessary to sell a home! It amazes me when agents try to argue the point.The only reason they do is because of the prospecting aspect. that you mention.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall and hear just how many point out the security issues. I bet the percentage is very low.

    Very interesting what Maryland has done!

  21. bayareapropertybuyer April 28, 2015 at 3:43 am -

    Thanks for the detailed post

  22. steve May 4, 2015 at 11:42 am -

    Security wise, any homeowner thinking about “should or shouldn’t I have an open house” has to ask themselves a question. If I wasn’t selling my house at all, would I put a sign up saying ‘open house’ which allows anyone at all to enter? Turn the security system off, unlock the doors, let anyone in who happens to pass the sign and who feels like stopping along their real destination point. Hmmm. I don’t think so. I have had success doing an open house with no signs, only advertise on line and those who are really looking to buy are the ones who show up. Not just anyone off the street passing by. Its somewhat a filter. Maybe the only way to do an OH.

  23. John July 29, 2015 at 12:41 pm -

    I think that if you have not been using your house for too long, or if you are getting back on payments, or something similiar then the best course of action is to sell it. Since you don’t need it anyway you won’t suffer a great loss, but on the other hand you will have a new source of tempoarry income. If you are interested in this idea, just check out or a similar site to see all of the possibilities

  24. Mary October 27, 2015 at 6:23 pm -

    Excellent, very well done. I am a Broker/Realtor for over thirty years. Appreciate your truthfulness in regards to the reasons
    this practice has seen its day.
    Sold hundreds of house over the years and only two by open
    houses. Remember those very well. It was summer and both were very close to a body of water. They were also priced perfect.
    Overpriced houses do not sell even with an open house every week. Seasoned Realtors remember past mistakes the best. Lost time because of demanding sellers with over priced houses are very bitter memories. Rarely did I ever close with them. After many months of drawn out open houses they relisted, lowered the price with the new agency.
    Open houses are just not safe and I have known of many thefts in our areas. It is like hanging a key to the house on a ramp sign off the interstate.

  25. Marvin Von Renchler January 19, 2016 at 12:31 pm -

    36 years in business. Responding to everyone above—sure there are exceptions to every rule and some of you may have made a lot of money from opens but Ive seen thousands of transactions by hundreds of agents over my 36 years and very few came from opens. Ive only sold two since 1980 to buyers who just came to an open. Opens are, as the author said, FOR THE AGENTS. That wasnt yelling, lol. You can mine opens for leads. I developed many ways of holding onto people who walk in then leave but real estate has changed. Newbies dont realize how much. Even though I can pull leads from opens, I dont do them any more. Countless wasted hours over 36 years could have been used for so many more productive methods to make commissions.

    The fact that they can be dangerous for agents should be considered. Also, as other said, strangers can case the joint.

  26. Aurelia Peart February 11, 2016 at 2:34 am -

    That’s useful information but i think you should try to sell house by your own. If things didn’t work out then you should think about home staging. Thanks!!

  27. Kel February 20, 2016 at 1:09 pm -

    Bought my house after stopping at an Open house. Maybe it is mostly for the agent but that doesn’t meet it doesn’t work. Also I stopped by an open house, got a card and gave it to a friend looking to sell. The seller of that open house bought the house of my friend. Weird world.

  28. Brett Cairns October 26, 2016 at 5:35 pm -

    You are spot on Bill. I get asked this question just about every time I list a home and I have the same answer as you. An open house rarely sells homes and I discourage them especially for higher end homes. Lookie Lous and neighbors are most often the visitors to open houses. Younger realtors still do them in our area merely to get known and to try and obtain new clients. Listing agents often pawn off the open hose duties to the younger realtors

  29. Allan Foglio October 30, 2016 at 11:14 am -

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  30. Allan Foglio November 20, 2016 at 8:08 am -

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  31. Peggy J Chervenak June 26, 2018 at 3:17 pm -

    In larger city markets, I think they are absolutely necessary. Nearly all buyers start their search on the internet and if you advertise the open house on the internet, they will come (with or without their agents). Buyers today think they don’t need a realtor because all the information they need is on-line, so they troll open houses for that perfect home. Many represented buyers come to open houses and then tell their agents about they home and then submit an offer without formally setting a showing. The more eyes on the listing, the better chance it will sell. I attribute open houses have contributed to over 50% of my listings over the last two years. Sometimes, we never know what generated an offer being submitted, but 2% seems very low When i started real estate 16 years ago, 2% was the statistic given then, I think technology has changed that in today’s market.

  32. BRIAN BURRY June 26, 2018 at 7:41 pm -

    Bill is a very respected and professional Realtor, but on this one area I have to disagree with his belief., based on our actual success at marketing and SELLING of our open houses. We do generate tremendous activity, and offers, to achieve top selling prices for our Sellers. We personally demonstrate our knowledge, expertise, skills and actually meet neighbors who are looking for a home for their friends and relatives – OR want to sell themselves. Our record from an Open House: 8 listings and 12 sales from ONE open house. It is work, it takes good preparation, and done professionally does result in a lot of happy Sellers and Buyers. I have been in this business 41 years and still find One-on-One personal contact beats social media and internet “leads”. It is your decision, but we know by personal success our results say YES

  33. Carrie June 26, 2018 at 9:18 pm -

    As a cash-in-hand, highly qualified, serious buyer who is shopping without an agent by preference, I rely almost completely on open houses to give me a quick look at properties in my search parameters that I might not otherwise schedule to see for lack of time and have found gems. In fact, was preparing to put a contract on a home I saw through an open house when another unrepresented buyer beat me to it, from the same open house. Bias against serious but not-represented buyers is strong in the article and some of the comments, which simply amazes me. Many lawyers I know will not use buyer’s agents. Thanks to the internet and sites like Zillow that aggregate FSBOs and FSBAs, second-time+ buyers are finding it less enticing to hire buyer’s agents too. Security concern on the buyer’s part: As a buyer, if I want to see a particular house, I will ask when the open house will be, not if I can schedule a private showing with a stranger, without the security of having the home open and others around. Most of the time, if I get a response that there will not be one, I don’t schedule to see it unless I can find a friend to go too, which almost never happens. There will always be another house. Prioritizing open house visits as a buyer is not absurd. It makes great use of time. I don’t have to take a whole afternoon, get a sitter for several hours, just to see two houses because I couldn’t get the appointments close together. Please make it easier on the seller and the buyer by opening the homes. Try to pick an earlier start or later finish for the open time so you won’t have to compete with all the other homes opening in the traditional time frames of 2-4 on Sunday. The one that stays open the latest or opens the earliest will get the most visitors in a busy market and allow for folks to deal with driving distances between open homes. Shoot for one weekday evening or lunchtime open house too so folks who work weekends can come — helpful for healthcare workers. If a similar home near your listing is going to be open and it’s close to your listing, please piggy back and open yours too at the same time. Buyers map their open house visits carefully and the ones grouped together are more likely to pull the most drivers in the short time homes are open. I’ve met some excellent realtors at open houses and prefer to know more about the house directly from the seller’s agent. The last house I visit on the tour — the one that stays open the latest — tends to be the one that I get to take the most time in. Sure, there will be lookie-loos but they have friends they can tell about the house. I’ve had recommendations from friends who went to open houses scouting for me and others.. Hope a buyer’s perspective helps balance this a bit.

  34. Leo Sebus June 27, 2018 at 11:36 am -

    Well Bill, your message is a bit incomplete and very misleading. It may not be “NECESSARY” but is definitely a plus and at no additional cost to the seller. I have sold a number of houses through the years as a direct result of holding that house open. Many buyers don’t want to be burdened with an agent constantly calling until they have a more definite personal direction with their home search. Sometimes they have told me their agent was unavailable and they did not want to miss out. Others have then come back with their agent after seeing it. Neighbors see it that are not looking and then think of a friend that is looking. Granted their is a potential benefit to the agent but creating additional attention to a property by taking the opportunity to post the open house online is also a benefit, and can create follow-up traffic.

  35. Bill Gassett December 19, 2018 at 1:17 pm -

    Leo it’s definitely a plus to let people who don’t belong into someone else’s just so you can use it as your sales office?

    How about the fact that theft takes places all over the country in open houses? You are right that is definitely a plus – NOT.

    These are the facts that so many agents want to sweep under the rug and hope nobody mentions.

    The fact of the matter is a home priced correctly will sell regardless of whether there is an open house or not.

    Showings with agents = vetted buyers. Open houses = anyone with a pulse.

  36. Carol Genua December 19, 2018 at 1:49 pm -

    I don’t agree, many of my listings were bought by buyers that came to my open house without their agent and then came back with their agent, The home might not have sold without the extra exposure that it got.

  37. Jon Cherry December 19, 2018 at 2:14 pm -

    I rarely comment online about my business. While your opinion, based on your experience and national OH’s stats are negative, there are those of us who sell 33% of our listings via OH because we do them the right way using the best proven practices. Of course they benefit the agent as well to gain new customers who are unrepresented. It’s a great way for new agents to learn the business and feed their families in less start up time. Here’s a stat: about 70% of OH attendees will buy in the next 12 months. That is worth the effort and it benefits everyone. It’s hard work and those of us who work hard do more business. I’m a little disappointed in this blog for posting what I consider propaganda that leave out the success stories. I’m a broker/owner with 16 agents who love doing open houses. Our clients love them, too, and that is what matters the most..

  38. Amy Piggee December 19, 2018 at 2:39 pm -

    While most of us don’t want to spend time sitting in open houses, many homes do truly sell off the open house. My last open house did produce a buyer that purchased it with their realtor who did not enter the home to see the home prior to writing the offer. The fact is… the buyer came through the home twice that day and did, in fact, purchase it. Many homes sell off the open house but typically have agents. Our job is to get as many folks through and some buyers just don’t want to “bother” their agent on the weekend. Doesn’t make it right or wrong, but it’s a service. #my2cents

  39. Peter Frank December 19, 2018 at 4:33 pm -

    Open houses rule. Any agent who discourages open houses are lazy and jaded. Open houses are not about finding a buyer for your seller’s home initially. It’s about finding out what buyers like about it and what buyers don’t like about it. For a home that is in turn-key condition and priced correctly an open house will put the pressure on the buyers to sharpen their focus with their agent and make an aggressive offer generally before the open house occurs.
    Open houses are great tool for selling a home. I do agree that open houses are most effective the first weekend the home is on the market. Generally speaking the first weekend on the market all buyers will come out especially if it has a good presence on the internet. Once a home is on the market 10+ days the effectiveness of the open house can be diminished.
    Finally, all visitors must sign in. Put that in your open house announcement on the internet. Folks showing up to an open house should expect to sign in. Anyone refusing to sign in will be asked to leave. Set a table up in the foyer to greet the folks immediately as they enter.
    If you are looking to get a buyer at the open house you will not have a good time. It too much pressure on you. It’s like going out clubbing expecting to meet someone – forget about it – that is going to be bad night out. You go out clubbing to have fun. You do an open house to have fun. If doing an open house is not something you look forward to then please to not do them.

    • Bill Gassett July 12, 2019 at 9:55 am -

      Peter – I think what you meant to say is agents who hold open houses without explaining the downsides could care less about their clients property or possessions.

      What they care about is prospecting for business and nothing more. Agents who don’t hold open houses aren’t lazy at all – they care about what’s best for their clients.

      I feel bad for you if you need open houses to sell your clients homes.

  40. Bob McTague December 20, 2018 at 8:15 am -


    What you day is true… however, 60% of the agents will not agree with you. Can you sell a home via an open house, of course! However, most buyers start online and then contact an agent… then there is a growing group of buyers that wander freely to open houses of call the listing agent directly… from my experience, this group is just starting out ( months in advance ) and not ready to buy… but for the Agent holding open houses, this can be a great lead source for them… to set the record straight, like Bill I help about 75 to 100 people buy or sell a home each year and the other 2 members on my team another 100… been helping people since 2006, and I used to hold open houses, but learned the truth to what actually will help my seller clients, and in my market and it was not open houses… but every agents business is different.

  41. Stefanie M Pratt January 2, 2019 at 6:22 pm -

    Overall, this is a true article, as it says is it necessary and gives some good facts in the overall picture. Open houses are not key in selling a home, it’s marketing, pictures/tours, location, pricing, the market overall, and getting it in front of buyers as where do these buyers find these homes? On the internet first. How do you market open houses? On the internet primarily. The internet is the key and your home can be open 24/7 with the right virtual tour, photos and marketing to get the buyer to call you as the listing agent if they don’t have one. Now in some markets, that could be different. In 16 years and being a top producer, I have yet to hear, or have my agents say, I SOLD MY OPEN HOUSE TODAY from someone that came through. Personally I have not done but 5 in the last 2 years as while I will work on Sundays, I want to make them productive hours with pre-approved buyers. When I show all that goes into what I do in a listing presentation, they don’t want to deal with an open house. If they want one, I tell them I will have my buyer’s agent schedule it as that is who is most beneficial in the end, future buyers that might come through and she will show the home. Yes, we can meet neighbors too for future.
    In our area, they are not productive and I want my time to be productive. I work 7 days a week and will answer emails, phone, and text anytime I get them through to me. No “Sundays Off” here.
    I don’t agree with the statement that just because a buyer comes through unaccompanied that their agent is lazy. Many times, my buyers tell me they plan to run through a few open houses last minute to get ideas when we are already looking together. They tell the agent they are working with me and just checking it out. The very few times they were interested in a certain home, I either met them or got them in with me. It’s about educating your buyers best we can.
    Overall, there are markets that are productive but HGTV and shows have shown this different than how the real estate world really works.
    I wish they were more productive here, as I could cut my advertising budget way down and work just Sundays :).

  42. Lara Johan June 24, 2019 at 7:29 am -

    Everyone has a different point of view on this topic. Some says open house work and some not. I wrote a blog post on this topic. The best day of the week for home sellers to hold an open house. Must read.

  43. BARRY PAOLI December 14, 2019 at 2:07 pm -

    After 47 years in our great business and having one of the largest companies in Chicago and having 3 major downturns in our business I totally agree that OPEN HOUSES will benefit our sellers in turning the public and other agents to know just whats available in the market place..
    If even one house sells off of an open house the seller and buyer win and being the listing agent your duty is to the seller!!!

  44. Janice Nolan December 14, 2019 at 2:23 pm -

    For those we disagree and feel opens are a positive compared to time spent, expenses, & marketing. What are your conversion percentages and tips that made it successful.

  45. Bette Curtis December 14, 2019 at 4:14 pm -

    I have been a Realtor/Broker for over 34 years and have found open houses are a benefit for the agent. It is a way to find buyers and meet the neighbors!. Think about your own home. Would you like to have strangers walking through your home, opening your cabinets and closets and then use your bathroom? No way!
    We presently have our home on the market. We have lived here over 30 years. We built it and designed it. Being a seller is a miserable event!! Agents bring their client through and they stay 30 minutes to an hour. They open cabinets, stare out the big windows, ask a million questions and then come back with some stupid reason why it won’t work for them. One buyer stared out our big windows for at least 15 minutes and then decided the telephone pole across the street turned him off! Really? Our privacy is invaded, our security is in question and am distressed at some agents’ lack of professionalism. One agent brought a man through whom he did not pre-qualify, nor had never met. I asked the agent why he didn’t pre-approve the buyer and he replied, “I just wing it.” This “buyer” arrived in a shabby car and quickly offered his credit worthiness by saying his uncle left him $3 million. Yea sure!!! Shame on this Agent! Being a seller is no fun. It is invasive and very personal. Dealing with a self-serving agent only makes us all look bad.

    There is no difference with an open house! Anyone can come through and case your home. I tell my clients I’m happy to do an open house for them, but the benefit is for the agent to meet future clients. My advertising and networking is sufficient. No to open houses!!

  46. Phil Amodeo December 14, 2019 at 7:11 pm -

    I will admit that, statistically speaking, Open Houses have never been a very effective tool to sell that particular home. Having said that, I sold one of my own listings earlier this year to an Open House visitor who did not have an agent. I used to get a lot of business (both buyers and sellers) from Open Houses, but that seems to be changing recently. Most visitors already have agents and full information about the houses before walking in the door. Unlike car dealers, we only need ONE buyer for that house, so it’s a calculated risk worth taking. And even if we don’t get any visitors, we can still be productive with our laptops and mobile devices while we’re there.

  47. Ron Smiley December 15, 2019 at 11:04 am -

    I respectfully disagree. This may be true for Bill’s market, but not all markets. Listing agents seldom sell their own listings. They require other agents in the MLS system to sell it for them. I sell in a destination market, where people come for a one or two week stay. It is easier for them to come to an open house, than to spend time looking for an agent, or firm they don’t know.

    I have sold homes and condos from open houses, if not my own listings, then by doing open houses for other agents. I have had listing agents send their clients to my own open houses, and they ended up bying even though they still used their own Realtor. It’s true we get some leads, but that’s necesssry for people who aren’t established. Once established they have a base from which to work with.

    So what works in Bill’s market doesn’t work in all markets, especially destination markets, where buyers come from out of state.

  48. Carole Fischer December 16, 2019 at 8:08 am -

    Give me an Open House and I will sell it. I always have a blank contract with me and go with the knowledge I will sell it. And often it is often to another’s client because I give the other agent their entire commission and let them write it up. My colleagues know they can send their clients to my Open Houses so it has been a really good tool for me. If someone doesn’t want to sign my sheet and show ID they don’t get to look . And I lock the door between guests. People can ring the bell. If I am expecting a lot of traffic or it’s an isolated neighborhood I team up with another agent.

  49. Pam Schwallier December 16, 2019 at 3:19 pm -

    We have great results from our open houses! We sell homes thru open houses, but they are not always our clients. We receive phone calls the evening or next day after our open house from potential Buyers who have gone thru, friends or relatives of attendees, or other Realtors, whose clients walked thru, It may take some luck, but I believe it also takes establishing a dialogue with the attendees to turn the looky loos into Buyers.

  50. Charles Stallions July 18, 2020 at 3:44 pm -

    Shh convince the builders on “no value to an Open House ” then they can fire their hourly employees. I do a 30 minute open of 6 homes on Saturday and if you are hunting where those buyers that you lost, they probably came to my tour but told neither of us.

    I sell on average a home a week from my tour and refer 1 more a week to a buyers agent somewhere for 35% referral fee.